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  Describe three ways in which social changes surrounding the use of technology in the...

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user6760353 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:22 AM via web

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Describe three ways in which social changes surrounding the use of technology in the last 10 years have affected a person’s professional and/or personal life.  Explain whether these effects are primarily positive or negative.  

 

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted May 10, 2013 at 1:04 AM (Answer #1)

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In the last ten years, technology has brought about dramatic social changes in our personal and professional lives.  Technology has simultaneously put us more in touch with one another in a metaphorical sense, but less in touch with one another in a literal sense.  Technology has expanded our virtual horizons, all the while narrowing our real-world horizons.  And technology has made cerebral creatures of us, but has dramatically limited the ways in which we engage our bodies. 

Our ability to use social media, email, chats, texting, and webcamming makes it easier than ever for us to communicate with one another, many people feeling that they and others should be accessible around the clock.  This can be a good thing in one's personal and professional life, but it takes away from a sense of peace and privacy, being intrusive and invasive.  People begin to have unreasonable expectations about instant responses, including family, friends, and employers.  Furthermore, since we are able to communicate electronically with such ease, many people miss out on face-to-face communication, much less hugs, kisses, or pats on the back. I have seen people texting across a room, rather than speaking to one another.  This is a loss to all of us, and I fear we will lose our ability to communicate in this old-fashioned way. 

Technology has opened the world to all of us, allowing us to see people and places on the other side of the world, letting us peer into the collections of museums, and enabling us to see a falcon hatch at the top of a 50-story building.  That is remarkable and thrilling, to be sure.  But this trend keeps us sitting at our computers, rather than travelling, rather than going to the museum, rather than going to the zoo.  There has been discussion of this next generation having a "nature deficit," never smelling the real roses, seeing the deer in the fields, or experiencing the waves in the ocean.  So, while our horizons have expanded, they have also contracted in a way that is sad to see.

As for our minds and our bodies, we have become almost bodiless minds, sitting in front of one screen or another, substituting pixal action for real action, missing out on walks in the park, eating fast food because cooking would take us away from our screens, and seemingly content to allow the pleasures of our corporeal life to slip away somewhere.  It is wonderful to see so many minds engaged and so much information available with the stroke of a key.  But sometimes it seems to me that if someone does not yell "Stop!," we will evolve into enormous heads with minimal bodies to support them, not a pretty image, to be sure.

There are no doubt many other social changes brought about by technology, but these are important changes, ones that, as wonderful as they are, we should be wary of.  We cannot put genie back in the bottle now, but perhaps we should think about how to control him a bit better. 

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